Ray Ashworth is to retire within a few months as managing director of Daf Trucks, the UK's top-selling truck manufacturer. His successor is Robin Easton, who has returned to his native UK from India where he has headed Paccar's sales and marketing operation, based in Pune, for nearly three years. Mr Ashworth, 63, has been Daf Trucks Ltd managing director since early 2009. Before that he was commercial operations director. His long and distinguished truck industry career began with an engineering apprenticeship at Leyland Motors. Mr Easton, 50, started working for Paccar, the US-based Daf Trucks parent group, in 2004. For seven years until he moved to India in mid-2014 he was Paccar's treasurer and head of investor relations, based at the group's Washington state head office.
David Graziosi has been appointed to the top job at Allison Transmission, the US-based independent multinational which claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic gearboxes for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Mr Graziosi, 51, will take over as Allison chief executive on 1 June next year, following the retirement in May of Lawrence Dewey (Commercial Vehicle Engineer January).
Confirmation by the board of directors of Allison Transmission Holdings Incorporated that Mr Graziosi is being promoted from his current job of chief financial officer and president comes as no surprise. He joined the company as executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer in November 2007 shortly after it had been sold by General Motors to the Carlyle group and Onex Corporation (becoming independent later through an initial public offering (ipo) on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2012). Mr Graziosi was appointed president in January 2016 and his wide-ranging responsibilities now include Allison’s global operations, purchasing and supplier quality, legal, corporate affairs, and information systems as well as financial matters. His background is in financial management, starting with an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree in finance from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Before joining Allison Mr Graziosi had been vice president and chief financial officer at Covalence, a multinational manufacturer of polyethylene-based films, adhesives and coated products. He has also worked in similar jobs for other big US-based chemical firms.
Mr Graziosi’s successor as chief financial officer has yet to be appointed. Both internal and external candidates will be considered, says the company.
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Bob Lowden has quit as boss of Iveco's UK and Irish Republic sales and marketing operation, less than six months after starting the job.
Mr Lowden, 57, was appointed Iveco Ltd managing director late last year (Commercial Vehicle Engineer November 2014) following the surprise departure of Claudio Zanframundo, in the post only since May 2013. Mr Zanframundo is now based in Turin, Italy as network development director for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region of CNH Industrial, Iveco's parent group, encompassing agricultural and construction equipment manufacturing as well as FPT Industrial (formerly Fiat Powertrain) engine manufacturing and Iveco commercial vehicles. Mr Lowden has left CNH Industrial entirely, though the reasons for his departure remained unclear as this edition of Commercial Vehicle Engineer was being finalised. An Iveco statement says only that he has "left the organisation to pursue other activities" and Mr Lowden himself was unavailable for comment. His departure must be a severe embarrasment for Iveco and CNH Industrial, not least because only a couple of months ago he was emphasising that he expected to be in the post far longer than his predecessors. Iveco is in the process of moving its UK head office from Watford, where it has been based for 30 years, to the CNH Industrial UK site at Basildon, Essex. But a company spokesperson insists that this impending move, due to be completed by the end of June, is unconneccted with Mr Lowden's departure.
CNH Industrial bosses in Turin have moved swiftly to appoint his successor. He is Stuart Webster, at present marketing director for CNH Industrial's financial services division in the EMEA region. Mr Webster has a background in banking and financial services. He was a director at the BNP Paribas bank's leasing division for eight years until 2000 when he joined CNH Capital as a country manager. He was based at Iveco's Watford office as managing director of Iveco Capital Ltd from 2005 to 2012 and has been in his current, Turin-based post since October 2013.
Mr Lowden is a former Iveco UK dealer network director who left that job in January 2012 to become managing director of Iveco's operation in South Africa.
Mr Lowden's commercial vehicle industry career began with BRS, then part of the National Freight Consortium, in north eastern England. From there he moved to the Cowie group, a big Iveco Ford dealer at the time, as aftersales director. He joined Iveco in 1990 and a series of promotions took him to parts sales director and customer service director before his appointment as dealer network director in 2011.
Mr Lowden returned to the UK from South Africa last year following Mr Zanframundo's surprise recall to Turin as part of a wide-ranging Europe-wide senior management restructure at the CNH Industrial division initiated by Pierre Lahutte, appointed Iveco "brand president" last July following the unexpected sudden departure of Lorenzo Sistino (Commercial Vehicle Engineer July).
Mr Webster's main challenge in his new job in the UK will be to try to reverse a continuing slide in the company's share of the heavu truck market (above six tonnes gvw). "Too many fleet operators shy away from Iveco heavy trucks for what can only be described as outdated historical reasons," said Mr Lowden a few months ago. In the first three months of this year Iveco's share of the UK truck market has fallen by more than eleven per cent compared with the same period last year though the total number of all truck registrations has grown by more than 50 per cent, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).